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In Sign of the Times for Teaching, More Colleges Set Up Video-Recording Studios


In an article on the Chronicle of Higher Education, Meg Bernhard examines how many colleges are starting studio rooms in order to support experiments in online and hybrid teaching. Harvard University is one example of a college setting up television stations, equipping green screens, multiple cameras, and microphones for students and professors to use. Whereas other universities are setting up low-key quiet rooms with a video camera and proper back-lighting.

This is due to the growth and need for online and hybrid courses. These on-campus resources can help assist both students in learning and professors in teaching online and hybrid courses. This is all due to the growth of the accessibility of technology, such as iPads, tablets, Smart phones, etc.

This equipment is also fairly inexpensive and very accessible to students and professors. Students and professors can simply insert a flash drive and their video is saved and ready to be edited from their own technology. This increase in production rooms is also due to the use of technology in the classroom. Professors can allow students to create higher quality projects because the university is offering a resource that most students would have to pay tons of money to obtain.

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Curriculum Must Adapt to Technological Advances

In an article on Educause Review, Randy S. Tritz highlights the change of curriculum and classroom based learning as technology has advanced over time. This adaption has transformed from instructor to learner-based education that forces a relationship between educators and technologists. In this connection, educators and technologists must work together for the overall entire institution’s success.

Curriculum must adapt and embrace learner-based environments since the way institutions teach students has changed with the use of technology. Educators that don’t adapt are more likely to teach students incorrectly, however with the advancement of technology, failure is plausible. If there is a lack of collaboration between educators and technologists, there could be inconsistency, operation difficulties, and some programs might not meet the educator’s expectations. If there is a collaboration, introducing technology into a learner-based environment can produce overwhelming success.

A traditional instructor-led classroom is a row of students and an educator facing them, whereas a learner-based classroom has students put together with an instructor in the middle to allow collaboration between students and let the instructor to intervene when needed. This allows the instructor and learner to foster learning together.


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Free Online Courses: A Positive Experience

Yes, free online courses are now being offered by universities. Karen Harpp, a professor at Colgate University, has opened her course, “The Advent of the Atomic Bomb,” to university alumni and others who make a special request to join. Harpp believed it would be hard for today’s students to imagine living in 1945, experiencing a world war, or for most, serving in the military. With online classes, alumni have the opportunity to share their experiences, which can lead to class discussions getting more interesting.

The first time the online course opened Colgate hoped to enroll 238 students, but it surpassed that goal with 380 alumni. Another course that was offered, “Living Writers”, had 678 alumni enrolled. Ms. Harpp noticed that alumni who had graduated after 2000 were very interested in having access to the course material but less interested in engaging with the students. Older alumni from the Class of 1980 and earlier were most excited to talk with current Colgate students, challenging them on their thoughts and opinions on nuclear warfare. Colgate calls its class and others like it “fusion” courses because there are in-person courses for Colgate students with an additional online component that brings in alumni. The goal of these classes is not just to involve alumni, but to also invite the community to engage with students through online technology.

Now more universities are using free online courses as a form of engaging students with personal experiences that deal with the course content. Harvard University began offering such courses to graduates last year and the University of Wisconsin at Madison plans to offer six courses for their alumni. Now courses are being opened to the community and to various book clubs. With the help of technology and open dialog students receive a new and convenient way to promote “lifelong learning” while incorporating the community.

For more information on this topic visit the link below.

Fabris, Casey. “One Reason to Offer Free Online Courses: Alumni Engagement.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. N.p., 12 Jan. 2015. Web.

Aiming for Annotation


For the longest time the majority of people have considered passive reading the same as active reading, which is not the case. Active reading is more like a discussion between you and the material and therefore involves repeated questioning, critiquing, re-examination and the development of ideas. Whereas passive reading is when you’re reading to just get through the assigned pages and you show little actual interest in identifying and remembering the main ideas. But even the best active readers may find it tedious to actively read about particular subjects.

In an article on Educause Review written by Elyse Graham, she talks about the use of digital annotations to help train readers in the techniques of close reading, textual analysis, and proper comprehension of the topic.

Recently, development of tools to support digital annotation has been the subject of research and development. Some groups are building heavily annotated digital versions of maps, manuscripts, and specimens; others are focusing on developing tools that enable users to annotate new media formats, such as audio files or videos of class lectures. For example, the University of Maryland has teamed with Alexander Street Press to tailor a video-annotation toolkit for scholars. Johns Hopkins University is working with the French National Library on a complete digital library of existing manuscripts of the Roman de la Rose, annotated with the kind of scholarly commentary that normally could not appear in a facsimile. MIT’s Annotation Studio, a web-based application that enables users to create, save, and share annotations to digital texts.

The application was designed to help college readers locate and mark evidence in texts, with the aim of supporting instructors and students in the humanities. To learn more about this application click the link above.

Connecting Start-Ups with Higher Education to meet their needs

In an article written by Goldie Blumsenstyk on the Chronicle of Higher Education, she highlights a company and ed-tech entrepreneur who believes he knows the solution to a few common problems in higher education.

Paul Freedman’s company, Entangled Ventures, is working towards building a solution to the many problems that higher education faces. In order to do this, he hopes to convey these issues to start-up technology companies. He believes that there is a translation issue between what higher education needs and what companies build. The focus is to build solutions, not products that serve the needs of colleges.

The key philosophy of his company is to get involved early in pilot testing by these start-up companies. He believes that he can be the “translator” for higher education and get their needs met by building a relationship between the college and start-up company. He wants to convey the issues that colleges are having to start-up companies to allow them to build around them and adequately target the needs of the college.

This not only benefits the college but also the start-up company that is looking for a break into the technology industry. It would allow for these companies to test out their products and be supported by a higher education institution. Most companies rarely get the ears of someone at an institution. They would also be providing a product that would be used readily.

Companies such as Entangled Ventures not only help to build relationships between higher education and start-ups but they also invest in young companies. By investing at such an early stage, they also have a much larger financial stake.

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